Bombay's favorite cop accepts (reluctantly) a private commission: Ghote is hired by super-tycoon Ranjee Shahani to fly to California and talk some sense into daughter Nirmala Shahani, who's become a brainwashed acolyte in a US-style ashram. Result? Some fairly amusing culture shocks as Ghote meets California (""Aim, a toothpaste with an aim. . . . What was an oral hygiene programme even? Would he have to have one here in California?""). . . but one of Ghote's weaker homicide cases. Accompanied by a giant, hamfisted L.A. private eye, Ghote arrives at the ashram (after a confusing stop at MacDonald's), quickly sizes up the undeniably charismatic guru as a phony, and then goes into detection gear when the guru is found with his throat cut: a quasi-locked room puzzle, with no sign of the murder weapon anywhere. Suspects include the guru's second-in-command, the guru's secretary (whose boyfriend is interested in the ashram land as real estate), and Nirmala herself. But Ghote is convinced that the guru--who was heavy into corruption (financial and sexual)--committed suicide, making the knife disappear in some sneaky way. Much plodding questioning and a disappointing denouement--but Keating is never less than cleanly literate, and Ghote's reactions to Southern California (plus the odd-couple alliance with, shamus Hoskins, who calls the Inspector ""Goat"") provide extra charm to liven up the sluggish sleuthing.